Chapter 15: The Kazekama and Kousei
“What?! For real?”
I try to keep my voice hushed so Daiki-san doesn’t notice, but … un.
Even if I say pretty words like I try to avoid pulling people into the supernatural side of things, it seems a little late for the consideration.
“It often happens that people with stronger spiritual powers intrude on barriers.”
“…Is it my fault?”
I don’t know why I felt like I had to ask. Morbid curiosity.
“If I had to guess…”
Honoka pauses, tilting her head and thinking deeply.
“…It’s definitely not Daiki-san.”
I’ve never experienced a disappointment so strong that I actually almost fell over.
Hunched over, I semi-glare at Honoka.
“I could have told you that!”
“Well between the two of us, both guesses are completely possible, you know?”
She’s saying that with a pinched face and a bit of a pout, so I guess it really is hard to tell between the two of us.
Or it’s my fault and Honoka is covering for me.
“Normally this wouldn’t have happened because I would have noticed the barrier, but to think my senses have dulled so much by being sealed…”
Oooooi. I can hear you muttering, Honoka!
Well, whatever. My fault, her fault, whichever the case, it’s not like we did it on purpose.
“What are you two talking about?”
Daiki-san has returned his attention to us.
No good, my eyes are totally swimming.
Now that I think about it, I was always an awful liar.
“… Hey, what’s that?”
Completely ignoring us, Honoka points down the street.
Daiki-san and I look in the direction where Honoka is pointing.
A… person? … with stringy black hair hanging down in front of his … her? … face is moving closer in a weird, stumbling zig-zag fashion.
It totally looks like some creature from a horror film!
Although most of my life was full of youkai, this is the first time I saw such a R◎g-like movement! Sadako-san, is it Sadako-san?! No, somehow, this makes Sadako-san look cute!
“Eh. What’s she holding… knife? Eh. So that’s the woman from the rumors?”
The words slipped out of my mouth in a mumble.
“She’s less human-looking than I thought.”
That mumble was Daiki-san.
We had just been standing here, watching, but is that the smartest move, I wonder…
Anyway, the creature moving down the street towards us stops creakily all of a sudden.
“… obstructing me…”
Eh? What was it saying?
“You… also obstructing me! I will eliminate!”
…Eh. When did it move… it’s already right here…
My brain can’t even keep up with the creepy woman’s movements, so just when I start to register “fear”, already, the curved, small, sickle-shaped blade was already –
The sound of metal scraping something hard sounds.
My belated yell clears the foggy, confused feeling from my head.
Honoka had moved in front of me in that small instant, and orange-white flames wrap around her arms.
That was what had stopped the blade.
Aaaah… her ears and tails are out, we’re doomed – is not what I’m thinking.
Like, who the hell thinks that in this type of situation?!
“Honoka, are you…”
The creepy woman, no, the youkai, dodges and spins away.
Both Honoka and I look over at Daiki-san.
… So he was wearing his jacket to hide his gun, huh…? Heh…
Daiki-san glances over at Honoka, but then switches his eyes back to the youkai, who is TOTALLY moving like some horror film girl.
“I have a lot of things to say, but first let’s do something about this.”
“GYAAAAA-! I … eliminate… all who obstruct!”
Again, it launches itself at us, but this time I’m expecting the sudden change in speed…tte.
This speed is abnormal, even for youkai!
“As if I’ll let you lay a hand on these two!”
Honoka shoves her bags into my hands and lets out a howl of battle as she charges forward, clad in transparent flames.
Clash, clang, slash!
…They’re moving too fast. I can’t tell what’s going on.
It’s like watching an anime battle scene.
While I’m just standing there with my mouth wide open, Daiki-san is focused on other things.
The youkai manages to repel itself out of the way of Daiki-san’s shot by using the kickback from clashing with Honoka.
As it’s still in the air, Daiki-san tries to take advantage of its limited mobility.
Bang bang bang!
The woman, no, youkai, spun out of the way and blocked each of Daiki-san’s shots.
Right? It’s a youkai, Daiki-san.
Or like, isn’t she just too fast!?
Honoka swings her hand down, and a haze of fire and smoke fills the air.
“Honoka … that youkai… aren’t you strong enough to take it down?”
Thanks to Honoka’s illusion of a smoke-and-fire-screen, we made a tactical retreat.
I just can’t imagine Honoka being weaker than that weird youkai.
After all, I’ve been face to face with Honoka’s monster kitsune state, and there’s no way this youkai compares. Even though I’m still terrified because it can kill me easily, the blood doesn’t freeze in my veins and I don’t feel like I’m going to die in its presence.
Un, it’s a totally different magnitude.
“Technically speaking, yes, I could destroy that youkai. But I can’t guarantee what else will get destroyed in the process. That youkai is the speedy type, after all. Still want me to try?”
“Ah, I get it, it’s fast so you have to spam aoe attacks… not! Don’t! That’s way too dangerous!”
“Yup, yup, I don’t think that’s a good idea either~.”
“… Right. I have a lot to say, but most importantly… what was that? There’s no way it’s a human.”
Daiki-san cuts into Honoka and my conversation.
“It’s a youkai, and somehow we’re in some sort of spiritual barrier, but that’s all I know.”
As Daiki-san has resisted asking questions about me and Honoka, I also resist on asking him exactly why he brought his gun with him. For the record, it’s not like Daiki-san does it often. Or actually, I’ve never seen him carry one except when leaving for work.
“That is a kazekama, a wind sickle. Although that’s a generic name for most fast, sickle-based youkai. This one was born when a woman whose lover cheated on her bore a grudge while she cut her hair. It roams the streets looking to decapitate women who cause men to cheat.”
“Youkai born from grudges aren’t known to be … reasonable.”
“… Even if the woman didn’t know she was helping the man to commit adultery?”
Daiki-san said that with a disturbed frown.
“No. It’s not omniscient. It has to read the minds of its victims. In that, I’d say the town was lucky. The only reason there have been no victims so far is that none of the women it approached had knowingly slept with a man knowing he had another woman. Well, the longer this kazekama is left to roam, the more likely you will begin to find bodies that have been separated from their heads.”
“It only attacks those kinds of women?”
“So then, Honoka has done something irresponsible back in the day… ouch!”
Honoka punched down on the top of my head.
“Who are you saying has done something irresponsible?! In the first place, as a commander of a kami’s squadron, who has time for any sort of love affair, hah?!”
“Owowow, I’m sorry… but then why is it attacking us…?”
Daiki-san made a ‘now that I think about it’ face.
“Fumu. That is indeed curious, but I think I’ve understood it. It said we were ‘also’ obstructing it.”
“… Oh. Then this barrier-“
I start to say.
“As expected, you understand. Someone is hunting this youkai. So this barrier is not a bad thing, although it was our fault for stumbling into it.”
Daiki-san let out the breath he was holding and looked around.
“So this lack of people is the cause of some sort of barrier? If there’s someone actively hunting it, then there is no need for us to stay here. I’m reluctant to risk Kousei-kun in this kind of place…”
“Although I also am reluctant to stay in this situation, I wonder if that would be a good option… Although we were able to slip into the barrier without breaking it, now that we know it’s hear, I wonder if we would be able to slip out.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s the way this barrier is set up. We don’t have permission to come in and out as we please, so I think we will literally have to break out.”
Honoka held her hands out and a head tilt, as if to say, ‘that’s how it is.’
“Even though we came in okay?”
“I told you, Kousei and I are too powerful. Because we just wanted to go ‘over there’, we were able to slip in because we thought we weren’t moving to a different space. But now that we know we’re ‘in here’, we have to change ‘in here’ to ‘out there’.”
“Wai – Hang on, more simply, please?”
“Because we didn’t know the barrier was here we were able to avoid damaging the barrier. Now that we know it’s here, we can’t avoid having to manipulate it. Although it’s because our spiritual powers are larger than the caster of this barrier that we can even go between the real world and the barrier.”
“What is this, some kind of advanced physics theory?”
Honoka shrugs, ignoring what I just said, and continues,
“If we force ourselves to forget we’re in a barrier, it might be possible to go through another doorway and leave without disturbing the barrier. But I don’t have confidence to pull that off.”
“Somehow… I don’t get it, but I get it. There’s a good chance we’ll break the barrier and that lunatic of a youkai will run crazy among the normal people.”
I hang my head with a sigh.
Daiki-san also sighs, louder and longer than I do.
“So, then, what should we do?”
“Although I’m an advocate of lying low and letting whoever is doing such a troublesome thing continue to hunt the kazekama, I think that youkai will sniff us out, though. Since Kousei is a delicacy to that type of power-hungry youkai.”
“Ugh. Think about the mood when you say things like that!”
Daiki-san is totally making an uncomfortable face.
“It’s true though?”
“Geez, even so…”
In the middle of my sentence that creepy, shuffling step is heard.
It already found us… no, I guess it would be weirder if it hadn’t in all this time.
So I thought, but it appears not to have pinpointed our location.
We hold our breaths, ready to be attacked, but it slowly shuffles off.
“…Right, it can’t be helped. I wish I brought more cartridges,”
What?! You’re going to fight that thing?!
“That’s a youkai, Daiki-san. I don’t know if a gun…”
“If bullets wouldn’t hurt it, there’s no reason for it to dodge or block every one.”
… Well. Okay, yeah, you have a point, but think reasonably!
“I’m also against putting someone my master cares about in danger, but it’s true that your weapon can affect the kazekama’s movements. I ask for your help, Daiki-san.”
“Osu. I’m ready when you are.”
“..Na, Honoka. Is there anything I can do?”
I’m literally just a baggage holder right now.
I mean, I feel like I have to be at least 70% at fault for our current situation.
“Well, you’re the master of a six-tailed kitsune, so I think you’re already doing plenty.”
Fine, fine. I’m not moping; it’s just uncomfortable, you know?
“Alright, no sulking. Daiki-san, let’s move out in… hm?”
Right when she was about to give the signal to move out, Honoka tenses.
She turns around suddenly with a yell.
“Found… obstruction. Remove…”
Like a cockroach, the youkai is clinging to the walls staring down at us from the wall behind Daiki-san.
Even as Honoka rushes towards him, it’s already too late. Daiki-san himself is only now just registering it’s there.
No good, Daiki-san!
“N-wai – [STOP]!”
<a/n: Not to worry, this is a double update, part 1 out of 2>